Recently Oprah interviewed Ted Haggard and his wife Gayle. You may remember that Ted, a charismatic pastor of the megachurch he built and head of the National Association of Evangelicals, was outed in 2006 for same-sex immorality. Ted has come a long way in terms of facing his fleshly “inner demons,” but I thought he still skirted around a number of issues. (See former pro-gay spokesman Joe Dallas’ excellent blog on what he wished Ted would have said.)
What broke my heart, though, was how Oprah continued to come back to her mantra: “That is who you are!” She SO wanted Ted to own a gay identity, and kept bringing him back to that one point. She has swallowed the culture’s Kool-Aid, so to speak, about the “gay is good” mentality.
I thought Gayle nailed it when she spoke a powerful word of redemptive truth: she said we don’t have to give into our inclinations, and they don’t have to be our identity–which Oprah refused. She came right out and said she couldn’t go there with Gayle. She clearly thought Gayle was wrong.
So I was thinking. . . what if a new movement rose up attempting to normalize obesity, calling it “a different kind of beautiful”? And what if obese people came on her show and said, “Oprah, girlfriend, you’ve had a lifelong inclination to overeat and not exercise. Face it! You are a fat girl! That is who you are! Stop lying about it and embrace it as who you truly are!” She wouldn’t like it because she knows some inclinations are worthy of struggling against. She wouldn’t like it because she doesn’t want her temptations and her inclinations to define her.
Praise God that Jesus makes the power of the Cross available to us to fight against our temptations and our fleshly inclinations, and He longs to be the one who defines us and gives us our identity!
As for me and my identity, I am a beloved child of the King, redeemed and still very much in process of becoming all that He wants me to be.